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Posted 3/25/09 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Okay, I’m going to admit it. I don’t like change very much.
There I said it. Now you can call me an old crotchety old fogy who is too stuck in the ways of the past to see the advantages of change.
But you would be wrong in jumping to that conclusion. What I said is that I don’t like change very much. I’m not against change (goodness knows all of the changes that I’ve helped bring to this newspaper over the past 25 years), but what I abhor is change that doesn’t make sense.
Take for instance the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s position over the past decade to cast out the state’s current two-class system of basketball in favor of a three-class system.
As virtually everyone knows, I am opposed to any such change in the current basketball class system in North Dakota. Making the change would be the worst possible thing that could happen to the best high school athletic event the NDHSAA sponsors - the State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament.
By virtually every measure, the Boys State B is the “grand daddy” of high school sporting events in North Dakota. It continually draws the biggest attendance of any high school event and the revenues from this single event must help the NDHSAA fund countless other programs and contests it sponsors. And from the time any young boy starts dribbling and shooting a basketball, he starts dreaming of the day when maybe he’ll have the chance to play in the “State B.”
Plain and simple, the State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament is what high school sports in North Dakota is all about.
This year’s State Class B Tournament proved that point over and over again as fans from across North Dakota piled into the Minot State University Dome to cheer their teams on.
And guess what? Six of the eight teams that played in this year’s Class B wouldn’t have been there if the NDHSAA’s proposed three-class system was currently in place. That’s right, only Watford City and Bowman have enrollment numbers sufficient to be in what we know today as Class B. The other six teams, which incidentally took first, second, third, fourth, seventh and eighth place at the State B this year, would be moved down in the new classification system.
So does North Dakota need to go to a three-class system for basketball?
The answer is no. And now even the NDHSAA’s realignment committee is recommending that the association stop considering the three-class system. Will they do so? We will have to wait until the April 15 board meeting to find out. But common sense says that the change is not needed.